Nov 10, 2010

Football Outside the Box, Donald Hall's "Olives"





Speaking of military strategy (sort of, on Nov. 8) and flanks and such, in case you haven’t seen this clip of a middle school football trick play, give yourself 30 seconds of pleasure to witness something outside the box:

YouTube - Driscoll Middle School Trick Play

"Back in the day," as the young like to say . . . . My daughter once asked, seriously, “Daddy, were there cars when you were little?” Back in the day, we had a tricky football play called The Swinging Gate.

Our center, Hoss, approaches the ball and, all alone, faces the other team’s defense, while the rest of our team pretends to be confused and lines up, raggedy, but in formation, maybe 15 yards east of Hoss and the ball. The line we make is something like a gate.

Our guys look around and holler inventive stuff like,"Hey, where's Hoss? Yo, who killed, Hoss?" or "Dude, where's the ball?"

At the same time, Hoss bellows at us, "Over here, you morons!" (He’s required to insult us in the name of plot, plausibility, and creativity).

Suddenly Hoss picks up the ball and tosses it over to our speed back, Spunky Runnymede, who, theoretically, has the whole team blocking for him. We've melded into one line that swings like a gate toward the center of the field, shielding ol’ Spunk all the way to glory, against little or no defense from the stupefied bad guys, who are already screaming at the refs, demanding a penalty. Surely something here is illegal. Or immoral. What a bunch of candies.

It worked one time for maybe 30 yards. Apparently the bad guys on defense were faster than our halfback. Story of our lives.

Of course, we could never run it a second time because it had been scouted. Word got out that what we lacked in size and speed, we made up for with Sneaky Spunky. But we lost that game; we were 5 – 5 that year, and we’ve been about 5 – 5 at life.

Somewhere in there is a profound moral, but I’m damned if I can find it.

Donald Hall might have a moral about football, or at least a poem in a tone that's vaguely like mine. Sounds as if Mr. Hall knew Spunky and did not, perhaps, admire him.

Olives by Donald Hall : Poetry Magazine [poem/magazine] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.

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4 comments:

Brenda's Arizona said...

Ahhhh, I like this poem a lot!
I am not sure I like sneak football play you linked to. However, your school's sneak play was pretty cool!

Funny, last week a friend of mine's was telling me the troubles of having a freshman son in senior band. Mixing freshmen and seniors in high school just does not work - someone ends up thinking he is 'too cool'. The son dumped his 'girlfriend' in front of his 'senior' band mates after they dared him to do so. The seniors all stood and laughed...

High school is tough, and those who win are always TOUGH on the losers. I like the lascivious, doddering poet's side of the street!

Jean Spitzer said...

So, young poet, you too can grow up to be a dirty old man.

BANJO52 said...

Brenda, an awful story from your friend. I'm not sentimentalizing when I say it was NOT that cruel in my day (and place--maybe place is a huge factor?).

Jean, sassy! Nice. You and Brenda will have to duke it out concerning the lecherous poet. Can't wait.

altadenahiker said...

I can't improve on Jean.

Lovers' Lane